24- year-old model Michael Senich ,discusses his love for his work, heritage, and the various passions in his life.
What made you want to pursue a career in modeling?
Honestly, I fell into it. I am not sure I would like it to be my “career” – I believe our generation doesn’t have careers anymore. We make it work. Whatever we can do to survive. It is quite inspiring. I do like that I have had success in modeling. I am very lucky.
When I was in high school, I wasn’t necessarily a “ladies man” – I was a bit overweight. Since then (6 years) I have lost 65 pounds. I think I do it for myself, but I really like the idea of showing people what you can do if you just have the will. With the help of a few friends, I worked out every day and ate healthier. After eating healthier I realized I’d like to help people do what I did. It really feels good, and you notice your body changing. I want to help everyone, too much sometimes. This also led me to my major in Nutrition. I have my bachelor’s degree in nutrition and am very proud of myself. Modeling is art as well. I don’t do it for the glory or the money. I do it for the beauty. I do it for expression, for love and life and the magnificence of the human body. I don’t think I will ever stop.
Can you tell us about your first experience on a shoot and what you learned from it?
HAHA. Oh my gosh. So, I am assuming you mean my first professional gig, the infamous Target graphic tee shoot. In the fall of 2012, I had no vehicle besides my bike. I received an email to be in Uptown, Minneapolis at 9:30 AM on a school day. The morning used to be a difficult time for me. They told me to bring two government forms of identification, and I had left my passport with my friend, Jessi, in California (when I went to Comic Con ;). Her cousin Brit brought it back for me from San Diego. I asked her if I could pick it up before my shoot in the morning (turns out I didn’t even need it!). I woke up and left my house by 7 AM (huge accomplishment for me). I rode through downtown and to the opposite side of Minneapolis on a cloudy, muggy fall day; I retrieved my passport and continued my journey. After, I found I couldn’t get to the easier route, and I had to drive around one of the biggest lakes in the city (Cedar). Minneapolis is the city of lakes, so I just ducked my head and pedalled as fast as I could. Finally, I arrived to the studio with an entire production team awaiting my arrival. Red faced, sweating, and breathless I walked through the doors in the nick of time. They asked if I needed a few moments in the bathroom, then I had my shoot. After the bathroom, they couldn’t get the music I asked for on, which is completely fine. Additionally, I had to wear a frigging unicorn graphic tee. Hilarious, I know. I killed that shoot. Then about a year later, the side of my face was in every Target across America. Seeing people find joy from my face really made me happy. It made me appreciate the experience so much more. It is hilarious people still call me a “Target Model” like I am still employed by their marketing team. This is not the case. I have only done one Target shoot since, and it was for Canada! At least I was Mario from the Mario Bros. franchise. That also made me happy.
Which shoot has been the most enjoyable so far? And why?
The most enjoyable shoot I have completed is with my girlfriend, Jenna Mahr. It felt good to make artwork with someone I love so deeply. I truly believe she is one of the most talented, artistic, stylish, beautiful women I have ever experienced in my life. I am a lucky man. I believe in her more than anyone on this planet. She works with such passion and treats all humans with a grace I have only seen within myself. Working with her was just another way for me to become closer to her and who I am.
You studied Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, what did the course involve and is it something you would involve in future work?
The coursework was intense. I have every prerequisite needed to get into medical school besides physics. Recently, I realized that I would love to continue my degree and become a Registered Dietitian. There is a difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist. A dietitian has the qualifications to work in a hospital with a team of medically trained professionals. A nutritionist might work in a fitness club. I would like to complete the yearlong internship and become a dietitian to have that professional backing. After, I’ve thought of becoming a Physicians Assistant or starting a radio show (podcast, which I have done before). I just want to help people. If we don’t change things diabetes and obesity are going to start destroying bodies like nothing we have ever seen before. Our crops and food supplies will be tainted beyond repair. Our oceans will bore creatures that we cannot eat. What is left of our water supply is devilish. On the other hand, humans are resilient; we can change. We can do better. I believe in each and every one of you. If you ask me for help, I will not turn you down. I want to change the world.
Having grown up in Minnesota, can you describe what it was like? And for those who have never been there, where are the best places to visit?
Hmmm. This question makes me laugh as well! Northern Minnesota is a whole different ball game. It was incredible. I would not be who I am if it weren’t for Hibbing, Minnesota. I am so happy I am from there, but I was different there. My mother is a Korean American adoptee. My father is born and raised, Hibbing, MN. Their love is like nothing I have ever encountered in my quarter century on this planet. They moved there for me. They gave me everything, but I was different. I always felt different; like an O-U-T-K-A-S-T. I was (still am) a weirdo. I was treated a bit differently, but grew up in a family and household of Love. A Love that many could only dream of. I am not saying this to brag; it’s just the truth. It helps living being there, without the distractions cities can bring. It is also a very boring place, so constructive activity is recommended. I believe it all comes down to family. I am entirely lucky.
I think it is an amazing place to visit in the summer! YOU HAVE TO GO THERE IN THE SUMMER. If I were to imagine heaven, it would be just like my home. Summers in Minnesota, especially the deep forests of Northern Minnesota, are so unique. There are few places that are as lush and beautiful during the summer. It is lush with wildlife. They make you forget the winters we have. Our lakes are incredible, heavenly adventures teeming with life. The air is noticeably clean; you can feel connected from your feet through ground to the trees. They speak to you. Minnesota is like that secret, VIP nature spot that everyone goes to see (which they don’t and I think we like it that way) in the tropical parts of the world, but without the nasty smell and sun burnt tourists.
Are there any great hobbies you have taken up in spare time? What do you love most about it?
I love dancing. Ask anyone I know, and they will tell you about my dancing skillz. I’ve given lap dances, stripper poled, stomped the yard, krumped until I nearly passed out, dutty whined around an entire dance hall, moon walked through new years eve parties, slid my way through crowds, battled, broke, busted and slammed every move you can imagine. I lose all thought, all control. I become free. I love singing, moving, exercising, playing any hand drum that is around, swimming, talking, making new friends, hiking, adventuring, living, and mostly, just loving. I love most things. OH! And movies. Haha I love all things film. I really like film acting, but don’t get the chance as much as I’d like. I also just really love my friends that I call family, and more than anything, my actual family.
If you could visit one country, where would it be and why?
South Korea. Seoul. I want to know where my mother came from. I want to see where she struggled, where her life began. It doesn’t sound like it was pretty back in her day. She has come from the bottom. Literally, “Started from the Bottom” – I haven’t met anyone more “G” than my mother. I know she’d like to see it again. One day we will go together. She’ll show me where she grew up. We are very into our culture. She has always placed an importance on it that I am extremely grateful for.
Do you have any heroes/role models that you look up to (if any)? Why do they mean so much to you?
My father. He is the best man I have ever encountered as well. He loves all. I am actually named after him. Michael Joseph Senich II. The second. Living up to him is hard for me! I couldn’t ask for a better role model. He is loving, kind, caring, intelligent, wise, cool, happy, strong, hard working, inspiring, charismatic, funny; he can sing, dance, swim like a shark, hit home runs, tackle like an NFL linebacker, wrestle a bear (I’m guessing at that one, but I know he’s kicked Kent’s [human bear] butt before). He loves my mother like she is the Queen of Egypt. He does anything and everything he can for his family. He doesn’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks about him because he knows he usually does the right thing. We always talk about our name and who we are named after. Michael, the archangel, protector of heaven; Joseph, the father of Jesus; and Senich (pronounced Sen-itch, like “I have an itch on my back.” Not ick…), our family name. I get to be the second version of this person and am entirely grateful. I am not entirely religious, but very spiritual.
With regards to music, what genre do you like listening to? And tunes that you have been obsessed with at all?
Holy moly. This interview is going to get long regarding this subject. Mostly, I listen to Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, Dance, Disco, Deep House (lots of techno), Folk, Blues and anything that makes you feel good. I think there should be a genre dubbed “Sexy” – any song that makes you feel sexy is probably in my repertoire. I love OutKast, Marvin Gaye, Tupac, Jay-Z, Kanye, MJ, Frank Ocean, Earth, Wind and Fire, Diana Ross, Al Green, Otis Redding, Beyonce, Rihanna, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, James Blake, Childish Gambino, Kygo, Kav Verhouzer, Of Monsters and Men, Trampled By Turtles, The War on Drugs, Major Lazer, Duke Dumont, the World Class Art Thieves, The XX, Feist, A Tribe Called Quest, The BeeGees, Whitney Houston, all old-school hip hop. I love listening to my friends play or watching them DJ. There is nothing cooler than seeing someone you know on a stage losing their minds and making me dance. Heroes of Heartache, Preston Gunderson, Windsor (DJ), DJ Sabertooth, my buddy KJ, Erik Johnsrud, my cousin Jake Campbell; there are so many more, but I can’t remember right now.
Right now I am obsessed with the song the Kill Paris song “Girl, You One of a Kind” – and “I See Fire (Kygo Remix) by Ed Sheeran. Also, “Do for Love” by Tupac.
My anthem for life is “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison. HA
What do you think about the current state of celebrity culture? Should we be so bothered with what is happening in these people’s lives?
I’ve met a few celebrities. They are just people like you and me. They just live different lives. They have to do things for the studio or record labels. They are controlled. Some who are established already don’t have to submit as much of their free will to the “money makers” (i.e. Jay-Z). Some get to do what they want. Some do it for the money (most, I think). I really think most of them are trying to live their lives in peace. They love entertaining, as do I. The stories you read online or in the check out line in the grocery stores are mostly bullsh*t. America has this disgusting obsession with other peoples’ lives and beauty for that matter. We spend so much money on things that make us feel better about ourselves because of what less than 1% of the population look like. We want to be them; do what they do; use the same toothpaste or credit cards that they do. It is stupid. It is impractical. I am so glad I was just on the brink of the social media revolution. Everyone on those/these sites say things they will never say in real live. A lot of it is hurtful. Self-esteem must be at an all time low. Bullying is at an all time high. I think these tools (FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) aren’t being used right. We have the power to change things. Actually change things. We have created a revolution for the GLBT community! North Africa completed and succeeded in revolutions across the board because of the Internet! CHINA BLOCKED FACEBOOK BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE CONNECTING TOO WELL. I just hope we can step back and realize our potential. Life can be better and these things help. I think this is what we should be worrying about. I’m not going to lie. I have idolized some celebrities in my day. Although, I feel as though my latest experience has changed these views I have about celebrities. They are just other humans. Who cares what Blue Ivy and Beyonce had for breakfast? Who cares what the Royal Family did last weekend? Who cares if your ass is smaller than Kim K’s? They are all making money off of you caring, and I may be stepping over the line here, but you are just sitting there, not getting younger. Living a celebrity’s life for them. Making them money. Go better yourself. Go call your loved ones and see what they are doing because they actually matter. They will be there for you in the end. Settle your differences and hatred. Those who Love you will be your salvation.
If you were trapped on an island, what 3 items would you want to have with you?
I’d have an iPod with all my favourite music, a Kindle loaded with classics and history books, and a machete for various activities.
Fancy keeping up with Michael?? well, you can!